In the mining district of Logan and the surrounding counties of West Virginia there can be found no community whose improvements are more conducive to the welfare of the workers and their families than the thriving little town of Lorado. Unfortunately it has been only in recent years that many of the large employers of labor have come to the realization of the needs of their employees, but the Lorado Coal Mining Company had this in mind when, in 1915, they sent James W. Johnson to this locality in the capacity of superintendent. Much of the credit for the planning and laying out of Lorado must be given to Mr. Johnson, a life long mining man, under whose supervision this has been made into one of the best mining communities of Logan County.

Mr. Johnson was born June 6, 1863, at Niles, Ohio, and is a son of Thomas and Arma (Slater) Johnson. Thomas Johnson was for many years a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church and was also interested in coal mining in various fields. His death occurred in 1907 and that of his worthy wife in 1917. They were the parents of nine children, of whom two, Edward and Thomas, were organizers of the Lorain Coal and Dock Company, of Lorain, Ohio, of which the Lorado Coal Mining Company is a part, Edward now being chairman of the Board of Directors, while Thomas has retired. James W. Johnson received only limited educational advantages, in his youth, and he was but twelve years of age when he started out to make his own living. At the start he was employed in the coal mining industry, in a humble capacity, and through industry and fidelity worked his way upward through the various positions, learning the business in all its details. In 1915, at the time of the organization of the Lorado Coal Mining Company, Mr. Johnson came to this place in the capacity of superintendent and immediately began his work of laying out and improving it. This work has gone unremittingly through the years until Lorado is now one of the outstanding mining districts of Logan County. The company has spent thousands of dollars under Mr. Jonson's direction to make living conditions better for the employees and their families. Every building in the town is painted white, which alone makes it attractive, while many of the miners own their own homes, which are sold to them on easy payments. In addition there is a community church, a theatre, a drug store, a club, a restaurant, a railway station and other improvements. Sanitary conditions prevail throughout, the company being solicitous as to the health of the men in its employ. Mr. Johnson is known as a experienced and thorough mining man and capable executive, and while a strict disciplinarian has the friendship and loyalty of the men under his charge, who know that he will give them justice under all conditions and circumstances.

On September 22, 1889, Mr. Johnson was united in marriage with Miss Cora Nelson, who was born September 22, 1867, at Nelsonville, Ohio, the town which was named after her paternal grandfather, who was a large land-owner in that community. Her father, John Nelson, was also the owner of which property, but died in 1882, in middle life, his death being hastened as a result of wounds received during the war between the states. Mrs. Johnson's mother died in 1912, having borne her husband four children. To Mr. and Mrs. Johnson there were born five children: Rena, of Lancaster, Ohio, the widow of Doctor McCann, a former physician of that place; Wilber N., of Carey, Ohio; James Dowd, a World war veteran, who saw two years of service in France, where he was badly gassed; Mary E., the wife of F. F. Benson, of Lancaster, Ohio; and Stanley E., a vocalist of note, whose home is in NewYork City.

 

WEST VIRGINIA In History, Life, Literature and Industry, The Lewis Publishing Company 1928 - Volume 5